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November 23


Saint of the day:
Saint Clement

Patron Saint of Mariners, Stone-cutters

Saint Clement’s Story

Clement of Rome was the third successor of Saint Peter, reigning as pope during the last decade of the first century.

He’s known as one of the Church’s five “Apostolic Fathers,” those who provided a direct link between the Apostles and later generations of Church Fathers. Clement’s First Epistle to the Corinthians was preserved and widely read in the early Church.

This letter from the bishop of Rome to the Church in Corinth concerns a split that alienated a large number of the laity from the clergy.

Deploring the unauthorized and unjustifiable division in the Corinthian community, Clement urged charity to heal the rift.





Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano

 is a Roman Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Pope Clement I located in Rome, Italy


Martyrdom spot of St. Clement


The Inkerman Monastery of St. Clement

is a cave monastery in a cliff rising near the mouth of the Black River, in the city of Inkerman, administered as part of the sea port of Sevastopol.






Oranges and Lemons

Whenever I make St. Clement’s Pie, I can’t help but think of the nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’….say the bells of St. Clements”. It is after all, made with oranges and lemons and is a totally refreshing and delicious pie. Try having only one piece!

This well-known nursery rhyme in Britain is about church bells in London and the tune emulates the ringing sound of each specific bell. For generations British children have sung this much loved nursery rhyme as they play the game ‘Oranges and Lemons’. Even I remember playing this game in the school playground but I can honestly say I had no idea of the meaning of it all, what child does, except it was about church bells in London. 

The game involves a group of children, two children form an arch with their hands, they are known as choppers (secretly they decide who is oranges and who is lemons). The rest form a line and go through the arch, circling behind and going through again and again while singing the rhyme. At the end of the song a child is caught between the choppers on the last word, the act of chopping off their head. (I know, bear with me). The child is out, whispers oranges or lemons, whoever they choose they stand behind that person. The game continues until everyone has been captured and the two teams have a tug of war.

Here is the nursery rhyme and also the meaning of it - Now I know!

"Oranges and lemons" say the bells of St. Clement's

"You owe me five farthings" say the bells of St. Martin's

"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey

"When I grow rich" say the bells of Shoreditch

"When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney

"I do not know" say the great bells of Bow

"Here comes a candle to light you to bed

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head

Chip chop chip chop - the last man's dead."

There's no great mystery behind the meaning of the nursery rhyme 'Oranges and Lemons'. We can follow the story quite easily, even in the modern day; yet we all still cheerfully sing along.

Our hero is an individual who could have been saved. At any step along the way, he (or she) walked straight past all of those churches. The bells were heard, calling the faithful in to worship. But this unGodly sort never took the time to learn how to become a good Christian. Hence the slide into immorality, which eventually led to a very sticky ending.

Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clements.

St Clements Church, in Eastcheap, sits very close to London Bridge. That places it very near to the ancient wharfs of the River Thames, where merchants would go to purchase their wares. While oranges and lemons might be quite commonplace now, they were luxury items during the 15th and 16th centuries. You could be expected to make a good profit on purchasing a few for your market stall. Incidentally, St Clements is on the route to Leadenhall, where the fruit market was located.

You owe me five farthings, say the bells of St Martins.

Unfortunately, our hero didn't buy the stock out. There has been a visit to St Martin's Lane, which was close to the docks. Another church was down there, the eponymous St Martin Orgar. But even more importantly for our speculative merchant, this lane was where the moneylenders congregated. Apparently the money was borrowed to pay for the oranges and lemons. It was never repaid.

When will you pay me?, say the bells of Old Bailey.

There have been some changes to this rhyme over the centuries, but the meaning is the same. Back then, the Old Bailey was Newgate Prison. It served pretty much the same function. The moneylender has reported the individual for debt.

When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.

Our hero has fled! The important fact about Shoreditch is that it sat outside the walls of the city of London. It was full of poor people and immigrants, who could be relied upon to hide someone down on their luck. Plus the jurisdiction of London's law enforcers ended at the gates. The merchant could have been rich, but now he/she is destitute and on the run.

When will that be?, say the bells of Stepney.

Stepney was also outside the London walls, but it was a very different place. Sparsely populated and full of farmland, this wasn't the sort of place where you'd expect our outlaw to run. Nor did they. Stepney was owned by the Bishop of London. The revenue from the land paid for the upkeep and garrison of London's most forbidding prison - the Tower of London. In short, our hero has been captured and locked away. There's no chance now of paying back the moneylenders.

I do not know, says the great bell of Bow.

It's said that you're only a true cockney, if you're born within the sound of Bow Bells. Just an aside and nothing that will comfort our prisoner. While Tyburn was the more famous place of execution in London, Stratford-upon-Bow was favoured during the reign of Mary Tudor. This was the place where the Stratford Martyrs were burned at the stake. Talking of which...

Here comes a candle to light you to bed.

Or, as you and I would say, 'here comes a flaming great torch to light the faggots under the stake upon which you're tied'. Only that doesn't scan half so well.

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

That's pretty self-explanatory. The alternative mode of execution is decapitation, which would most likely happen at Tower Green, where our hero is imprisoned. Or it could all be a reference to being hanged, drawn and quartered. There the individual was hanged until close to losing consciousness.

However, that was all for treason. It seems a little extreme for a simple case of bad debt. Hard labour, with a side helping of starvation, in Southwark's prison was the more usual punishment for debt. Which makes me suspect that 'oranges and lemons' does have another lost meaning, in order to have the penalty match the crime.

Not that it matters now. The point was simply that one should go to church, so that one did not become a criminal in the first place. Morality tale over.

As for the cool part of this, take a good look at each line. In fact, sing it aloud. Have you noticed that the melody and pitch changes slightly with each line? That's because the words chosen force the singer to emulate the actual bells of each church! Only be careful wandering around London, attempting to hear the real bells. Half of them were destroyed in the Great Fire of London!







Saint Clement’s Pie


For the crust

  • 250g light digestive biscuit, graham cracker

  • 100g cornflake

  • 85g butter, melted

  • 140g caster sugar

For the filling

  • 1 large egg, plus 4 large egg yolks

  • 397g can light condensed milk

  • zest and juice 3 lemons zest and juice 2 oranges


For the topping

  • 150ml pot extra-thick double cream

  • 100g 0% fat Greek yogurt

  • 4 tbsp icing sugar

  • more lemon and orange zest, to decorate


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Sit a fluted 20cm round loose-bottomed tin (about 5cm deep, or a slightly shallower 22cm tin) on a baking sheet. Break the biscuits into a big bowl, or double-bag them in food bags, and bash to big crumbs with the end of a rolling pin or small saucepan. Add the cornflakes and bash a bit more to crumbs. Mix with the melted butter and sugar and press into the base and sides of the tin. Bake for 15 mins, then remove and reduce oven temperature to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

  2. Whisk egg and yolks in a big bowl until pale and frothy. Whisk in the condensed milk, followed by the zests and juices. Pour in the tin and bake for 20 mins. Cool in the tin, then chill for at least 5 hrs, or overnight.

  3. Whip the cream, yogurt and icing sugar together. Dollop on the pie and scatter with zest to serve.

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